A Guide to Prayer for those Waiting on the Lord

This week, as we begin the season of Advent, we focus on waiting well throughout the many seasons of life.

By: Rev. Paul Scalia

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“Wait for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord!” (Ps 27:14)

Poor Aaron was in a bind.  This Moses, as the people said, had been up on the mountain for a long time.  Almost forty days! They had grown tired of waiting for him.  So they approached Aaron and asked him to soothe their impatience.  Taking all their gold, he put it in the fire and – behold! – out came the golden calf.  What was taking Moses forever to accomplish he had delivered quite quickly. Then they cried out, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.”  The next day they celebrated their newly minted gods with much eating, drinking, and reveling (cf. Ex 32).

The failure of Aaron and the Israelites was a failure of patience – the refusal to wait for the Lord.  It is hardly the only example from Scripture.  Abram wearied of waiting for his promised son and so made his own arrangements (Gen 16).  King Saul grows impatient with the Prophet Samuel’s seeming delay and takes things into his own hands (cf. 1 Sam 13). We can even see the sin of our first parents as impatience.  Refusing to wait on God’s gifts, they grasp for what they want.

Anyone with experience in prayer must have some degree of sympathy for Abram, Aaron, Saul, and the others.  One of the great frustrations in prayer is God’s delay and seeming inaction.  “How long?” the psalmist repeatedly cries out to the Lord.  Indeed, how long must we wait before He answers our prayers – for health…for a spouse…for a job…for mercy…for marriages.  Why does He treat us this way?

Contrary to what we may at times feel, He does not do this in order to torture or discourage us.  Rather, like a good father, He wants to teach us and form us in essential truths.


God is not a vending machine. Although God can and sometimes does answer prayers immediately, there is usually a waiting period…. View the full text here.

This post first appeared on Encourage and Teach on July 15, 2015.

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